Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year That Was
2010 is coming to an end soon, and before you know it, 2011 is banging on your front door and making its way into your life. How has my year been so far?

Well, to summarize it quite simply, 2010 has been quite a good year for me. There's been a few hiccups here and there, but generally the year has been a good and productive year for me and hubby as well.

Personal life wise, our relationship is stronger than ever :) Lovey-dovey as always, haha! Learning how to love more, tolerance, acceptance etc. All part and parcel of strengthening the relationship :) I love you sweetie *muaks muaks* I'm also looking to further improve on my running, perhaps take part in more running events in the coming year. Hopefully I can actually train myself to run further and longer haha!

Work wise, I've been doing well as well. Got a great team here and everyone is just fantastic and great to be with. 2010 also saw a few unpleasant episodes, that said, there were also many happy occasions. 2011 will also see me playing a more senior role, and being part of management will be quite a ride if I may add. Lots to learn, lots to do, lots to contribute :)

Here's hoping 2011 will bring even more optimism and positive energy to each and everyone on this planet.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Presents 2010
This year probably marks the year where I got the most bags for presents :D 3 bags in total! Woohoo!

First bag was a very cute bag organizer from Sewing Monster a.k.a Sasha. She called me one fine day and asked if I could meet her downstairs where she was sending her young son to Shichida classes, and I dropped by to say hi, and was greeted with a surprise gift. The bag is reversible too, how cool is that!

Second bag was from hubby, and was really spontaneous. I was helping him hunt for his Christmas present for his department's gift exchange (he has to buy for a female colleague), when I chanced upon this really cute tote bag from Living Quarters, 1Utama. I thought that the bag was a much better option, instead of getting the usual soap sets. While browsing through the selections, he decided to get me a tote bag as well, seeing how I found some of the designs really cute :P

Third bag was from our company gift exchange, and I got a really nice, handmade Christmas-y tote bag.

Banyaknya bag tahun ini, kekekekekekeke! *happy happy happy*

Monday, December 27, 2010

Maru @ Mon't Kiara - 2010 Annual Company Dinner
No reference to the famous Japanese cat, Maru :P This was our venue for the company annual Christmas dinner, a Korean and Japanese restaurant somewhere in the heart of Mon't Kiara. Located inside Angkupuri Condominium, they specialize in Korean and Japanese fusion cuisines.

Maru: Korean and Japanese fusion cuisines.

Alfresco dining @ Maru.

Hubby and I were one of the first few to arrive, just before the rain came. Our reservations were actually alfresco, which would've been pretty nice as there was plenty of room to move around, plus when you're expecting a large noisy crowd like us, it's better to have the event outdoors :P However, the rain had other plans for us and it started to pour like nobody's business. The wind was practically blowing the rain into our faces and was gonna ruin all our makeup, hence the restaurant manager decided to move us indoors, into a private room. Good thinking on their part.

Some starters to begin with, a simple salad.

Once indoors, everyone had arrived by then and we sat cosily in an air-conditioned room. The salads came first.

Pretty cups @ Maru.

Some assortment of kimchi.

There was an assortment of kimchi served as well, good thing they came too as everyone was pretty hungry by then. While waiting for our mains, it was also time to end our Guardian Angel/Mortal game for the year. There was so much of laughter in the room, I think our stomachs were full of air by the time our mains came.

Salmon steak set.

Mains were pre-ordered before our arrival. The sets all came with a bowl of rice and miso soup. I thought my steak was rather oily, although the flavour was there.

Unagi set.

This was hubby's Unagi set, he loves unagi. It came in a pretty interesting box, not your usual bento box set. The unagi was a little on the sweet side and didn't have as much sauce as you would normally find in a typical Japanese restaurant, but it was not bad.

Sashimi Moriawase.

There was also an assortment of sashimi, served in a bamboo boat. 5 boats to be exact. There was salmon, tuna, yellowtail, tako (octopus), mackerel etc. Also some yummy green mussels, good source of zinc!

After all that eating and gobbling, it was time to for the gift exchange to take place. As usual, we had the Dirty Santa routine, which means whatever gift you think you're holding, will usually end up being someone else's gift. This year, the hot pick was a Moleskin gift box, courtesy of my boss. Almost everyone wanted it!

My winnings for the category "Best Dressed in Theme".

There was also an extra activity this year. My bosses had come up with a short list, and we were to vote who should win that particular award (e.g: Best dressed, Least complains etc"). I won the"Best Dressed in Theme" :P Actually it was rather accidental. The theme this year for Christmas was red, white and green. I was already in a green top and white slacks. Then I borrowed a scarf from my colleague to keep warm, which happened to be in red strips. Hence I was decked in full Christmas spirit!

Handmade tote bag.

This is my gift from the gift exchange, a handmade tote bag. Made by our intern's mum, I thought it was a really well made bag and priceless. I initially got a box with chocolates, candy and coffee, but as it's the Dirty Santa game and the person who initially got this bag said he doesn't know how to appreciate it because it's too girly for him, I exchanged my pressie for this bag :) This bag is so awesome, I can use it as my holiday tote bag!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Secret of Louisiana - Christmas Eve Dinner 2010
Had a nice Christmas Eve dinner with some close friends of ours here recently. Actually, what really happened was when we found out the couple had made reservations here, 4 of us made the decision to join (read: gatecrash) the lovely couple on their romantic evening plan :PpPpP Fortunately they're a very good sport and 6 of us made our way to the restaurant. No need to deal with traffic jams downtown or brave the pack malls!

Exterior of the restaurant (on the left, red & green deco).
In between them is another restaurant.

I've heard of this place before, but have never made my way there. Located by the lakeside, I thought this place had a nice ambiance to it. Plus it was the Christmas season and everything was decked with Christmas decos, making the place rather cosy. The restaurant had 2 outlets, the first and original outlet being a corner lot, while the expansion is 2 doors away. So yea, there's actually another restaurant sandwiched between Secret of Louisiana.

The 2nd outlet just 2 doors away from the original outlet.

I'm not sure if this was the restaurant's usual practise, but our couple friend who made reservations earlier, had to pay a RM50 deposit for reservations. I guess they're afraid you don't show up at the last minute, particularly on a festive occasion and when the crowd is expected. When we arrived, most of the tables were seated already.

We scanned through the menu and we realised not all the items were available. I'm guessing they were trying to control their operations and when you're expecting large crowds on festive occasions, maybe it's a good idea to scale down your menu options and just focus on giving good service and good dinner experience. The prices for all the items available for Christmas Eve were increased as well (by at least 30%!). I guess F&B establishments will use the opportunity to make big bucks from festive occasions lah, if they don't cut your throat now, not much chance left!

6 of us decided to order our mains, and have some appetizers to share. We ordered 2 portions of Seafood Gumbo and half a dozen cheese baked escargot. Didn't take pictures of the appetizers, we were pretty famished and walloped everything when the dishes arrived :P The escargots was very nicely done, love the oozing cheesy garlic herb sauce! And the Seafood Gumbo was a really good starter too. Served with 3 slices of toasted french loaf (with garlic and butter), the Gumbo was loaded with a variety of seafood in a thick creamy sauce, baked with mozzarella. NYAAAAMMMMM!!!! ^.^

Louisiana Famous Shrimps Scampi pasta.

This is hubby's entreé, the Louisiana Famous Shrimps Scampi pasta. The shrimps are sautéed in cajun sauce, tomatoes, garlic and parsley, and the portion was pretty decent too. Hubby thoroughly enjoyed his entreé.

Chargrilled Rosemary Lamb Shoulder.

This is my entreé, the Chargrilled Rosemary Lamb Shoulder. In case you're wondering if it comes with fries, yes it does (see the fries behind the lamb?). The chargrilled flavour of the lamb lingers for a while as you sink your molars into the meat. I love lamb, awesome awesome piece of meat.

There were other entreés as well but I didn't take pictures of those as I was busy tucking into mine, heehee! Overall food was pretty good, nothing much to complain about. Only complain we had was that service was rather slow, and sometimes annoying. It takes a while to get the waitress's attention, and sometimes we wonder if they're just ignoring their customers or acting busy. One of the waitress was a really really blur sotong case, because my friend had placed an order for glass of iced lemon tea with her, but it never arrived. They even calculated our bill wrong, billing us for an extra lamb and extra drink, and forgot to deduct the RM50 deposit from our total bill.

Hubby and I will definitely make another trip to this restaurant, perhaps not during a festive occasion. Was told they also have a lunch set: Eat All You Can spaghetti set.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Malakoff 12KM 2010
Before I start, holy cow...! Only 2 blog posts for the month of December :/ Epic fail. I've been so busy at work, schedule's been pretty hectic due to deadlines that I haven't got much of a chance to blog much lately, so please forgive my slowpoke-ness. OK, let's talk about our recent run: the Malakoff 2010 Run.

When we first signed up for this run, I was pretty enthusiastic about the whole thing. The adrenalin, the whole feel of it. But as the year came to an end and my work responsibilities took its toll and even made me feel very lethargic at various points (which also affected my training), I had thought of not participating in the run, for fear I wouldn't be able to perform at the level I was expecting myself to. However, after a quick chat with my big supporter, my own sister, I decided die-die also run laaa, paid money oredi summore :P

Come Sunday morning of the run, hubby and I were both at the starting line. The Women's category flagged off at 7am first, followed by the Men's 10 minutes after that. I had already expected the route to be pretty tough, consisting of hills and slopes. We were after all, running somewhere in the middle of Damansara Heights.

Map taken from here.

Here's the map of the running route. We flagged off from Bukit Kiara Equestrian Resort, head towards the National Science Center, all the way uphill, make a right turn and just follow the markers. For the 12KM route, we had to do 2 laps, as illustrated in the map.

I honestly thought the first slope uphill was gonna take a major toll on me. No joke ok, it's uphill from Bukit Kiara up towards the National Science Center wei. And it's a fairly long slope too! But I made it to the top nonstop *happy* and continued my run. I grabbed a quick drink from the first water station (by right you shouldn't stop to drink, just grab a cup and drink and keep running, otherwise you'll cause traffic) and continued my run forward. Saw a few men running (read: flying) pass me too, man they were fast! And then before you know it, I was running somewhere along the main road, passing by a row of shop lots on our left, and Millennium Tower was somewhere on our right.

I kept my pace (slow and steady) and ran passed the Shell station along Jalan Beringin, and came across a lady running with a really huge black retriever :D Also saw a couple of runners running bare footed *salute*. Later I found out they were running in memory of another runner, who died of brain tumour, and this guy ran bare footed.

As I ran pass the Shell station, we started to run uphill. Slope! I kept my pace, slowly easing myself and making sure I controlled my breath along the way too. Runners were given a white ribbon to wrap around our wrist, as an indicator to say we're on our first lap. The slope was gradual, but none the less taxing. Meters after I got my ribbon, I had to stop to walk a little to catch my breathe. Tough wei!

I passed the 2nd water station, grabbed a quick drink and continued running (by then we were passing the 1st split liao *beep beep beep*). The route was fairly ok for a while, until the stretch of the last killer slope came in sight. This was the slope I've heard people talking about in some other blogs I came across previously. Even from a distance, I could see the slope was a major challenge, and people were struggling. Heck, I could only run up halfway before I had to stop to walk XP And this was only LAP 1...!

Come LAP 2, hubby caught up with me and gave me the thumbs up for encouragement, and went on his way. I continued to run as much as I can, and if I get really too tired, I'll stop and walk a bit before continuing. Eventually I came to the last killer stretch before the route went downhill all the way back to the finishing point.

Our finisher medal for the run.

I'm pretty happy to have made that run, and felt really great after completing it. To some runners I was probably as slow as a tortoise hahahahaha! I was pretty happy with myself to have completed the run (I really thought the 1st slope would've knocked me out completely). Now I'm nursing a stiff left knee and am limping a bit LOL!

I hope in the coming next run, I'm able to train myself better and improve my timing more :)

Oh, I also bumped in a girlfriend, Yvonne from Piffles Inc. Actually she found me first harhar! Man, she's such an awesome girl, completing the run in 1:08 mins! She's been training to run for marathons much longer than we have, hence her awesome performance :D Thanks babe, for all the encouragement and running tips! *hugs*

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Silent Thoughts
I still feel a little crappy each time I hear of such news. It's been over 2 years, yet it sometimes feels like only yesterday it occurred. It's not to say I'm still bitter from it, such ill feelings will only break me down further and I don't want that to happen. But I guess despite the time, the scars will sometimes ache a little, and I'm taken back to that very moment for a short while.

However, the feeling will never last long, and will surely pass me by and I'm back to my good self again :) I guess the scars will always be there , just that it's no longer as visible as it once was.

To be honest, my reaction towards this piece of information will differ slightly. My reasoning is not due to what I've been through. Rather, it's what you did that resulted in me having this thought. Your selfish act in the past, which to me, still spells irresponsibility and was done to save yourself from your embarrassment and guilt. How you easily cast away the life that was bestowed to you.

Yes, I may sound cruel. But I'm far less cruel from what you did. You ran from your guilt, and in the process, destroyed it. No amount of religion can change that fact.

I will always feel that people who abandon and dump their babies, and people who abort them, should never be blessed with off-springs. That's because since they can commit such dastardly act on their first chance, they do not deserve a second chance to prove otherwise. This is my personal opinion of course, I'm not in the position to judge.

I rest my case.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My First Birkenstock
After a fall I had a few months back, I've been contemplating whether or not to invest in a good pair of sandals. You see, I've always gotten cheap flip flops, stuff that cost below RM20. Be it from hypermarkets or supermarkets, cheap flip flops have come and gone over the years. My most expensive flip flop in recent years was probably from Ipanema, costing about RM60. That lasted for a couple of years, until a part of the base ripped off.

I've been wearing my pair of fake cheap-ass Crocs for almost a year now, and the sole has definitely wear off, hence the fall :P Was walking to get to my parents house (within the compound) after the rain, and I stepped onto a slippery spot and my legs just flew from under me. I'm left with a small scar on my right feet now, hehe! But since that little slip, I've been contemplating whether or not to invest in a good pair of sandals/flip flops, or stick to buying cheapo ones and keep changing every 3-6 months.

After much discussion and research, I narrowed my choices down to Birkenstock & Ipanema. If you know me well enough, I'm the kind that will take many moons to think and debate with myself over my choices. I like to read, research, talk to people, get feedback, try etc. Yes I know, damn mafan right? But that's me :D I'm normally not an impulsive buyer, hence the bouts of research I do.

Research? For a pair of flip flops? Oli is nuts! But yea, that's what I did. This was what I based my purchase on (in no particular order):

- Durability
- Comfort
- Anti-slip
- Design
- Price

Now I've been looking at Ipanema, it being the more reasonably priced brand. Somehow off late, the designs kinda suck :( Nothing caught my attention, all pretty boring lately. Then my friend AuyongTC in Kiasuland kept upselling Birkenstock to me, telling me it's a really good buy etc, so I went to look at them too. Like I said, no doubt Birkenstock is known for it's quality and durability, it's the price that was putting me off :P And no, I did not consider to get a genuine pair of Crocs at all.

Last weekend, hubby and I were at World of Sports @ Subang Parade. There was a warehouse sale going on (last day too!), and it was a good opportunity for hubby to get a pair of court shoes. I was browsing at the aisle and saw Birkenstock there, between 30% - 40% discount! Oh wow! Frankly, even after the discounts, Birkenstock will still set me back over RM100 &%$@!

I caved. Hubby got me a pair of Gizeh in the end...

Image taken from here.